More than 60% of South African pupils choose English for learning and teaching, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.
This was despite the fact that only 7% of the country’s pupils (852 000 out of 12.2-million) speak English at home.
A total of 7.6-million pupils wanted to be taught in English, the institute’s South Africa Survey found.
Similarly, the number of pupils wishing to be taught in Afrikaans exceeded the number who spoke the language at home.
Zulu was the most widely spoken home language, by more than 3.1-million pupils.
Switch to English
However, fewer than a third of these pupils chose to be taught in Zulu.
The same trend was true of Xhosa, Tswana, Pedi, Swati and Venda speaking pupils.
Fewer than a quarter of pupils whose home language was Ndebele, Sotho or Tsonga chose to learn in these languages.
“The majority of pupils are taught in African languages at the foundation phase but switch to either English or Afrikaans as their language of learning and teaching from as early as grade four,” said Jonathan Snyman, a researcher at the institute.
He said the decline in African languages was a result of choices that parents and pupils made early on in schooling careers. — Sapa